Once Upon a Christmas
Harlequin American, Dec 2008
In Erie, Pennsylvania, although only the legal guardian to her nephew Brendan, Michelle Hamilton acts more like the child’s mother and has for five years ever since her sister, his mom, dropped him off explaining she was dying. She loves the lad and would do anything for him; even join the Erie Elementary PTA Social Committee; of course she volunteered when she was too sick to realize what she was doing.
However, when Brendan becomes determined to find his biological father, Michelle is hurt and worried as she fears if the child succeeds, the man will wants custody. Brendan meets his dad Daniel McLean and to her shock Michelle sees he is a terrific male role model. Even more stunning to the “single mom” is the realization she is falling in love with her nephew’s dad after spending several years hiding behind the mommy persona.
Holly Jacobs keeps this engaging Erie Elementary PTA (see ONCE UPON A THANKSGIVING) contemporary romance fresh through three strong protagonists coming together as a family who supersede the often used plot of finding a biological parent. The story line is driven by the changing relationships especially between the adults as each starts off wary and cynical but slowly observe how good the other is with Brendan before knowing they are in love. The fully developed triangle and the support cast make for a fine ONCE UPON A CHRISTMAS tale.